How do I Choose the Best Marketing Internship?

Vicki Hogue-Davies

Marketing is a very broad business function that reaches throughout many industries and areas. Marketing graduates can find employment in public, private and nonprofit sectors working in sales, advertising, market analysis and elsewhere. When choosing the best marketing internship, consider the area of marketing that you are most interested in, or the specific industry you want to work in, and seek opportunities in that area or industry. Look at the internship opportunities that you are considering in relation to how they will best help you meet your long-term goals.

Marketing graduates can find employment in public, private and nonprofit sectors working in sales, advertising, market analysis and elsewhere.
Marketing graduates can find employment in public, private and nonprofit sectors working in sales, advertising, market analysis and elsewhere.

If you want to work in sales and marketing, for example, you might look for sales representative internship opportunities with manufacturers or wholesalers. If you want to work in the fashion industry, look for internship opportunities in retail merchandising or similar areas. If you are undecided about the specific industry or area you want to work in, pursuing various shorter marketing internship opportunities in different areas and industries can help you find your niche.

Fashion marketing plays a role in setting prices and promotions to match supply with demand.
Fashion marketing plays a role in setting prices and promotions to match supply with demand.

An especially important consideration when choosing the best marketing internship is whether the internship will challenge you and help you develop your knowledge and skills. The best marketing internship will allow you to apply the marketing knowledge that you have learned in school and will provide you with real-world marketing experience. You don't want to choose a marketing internship that has you running a copy machine all day or performing receptionist duties. Look for internship opportunities with reputable organizations that will allow you to perform more substantive duties, such as developing marketing literature, contacting prospects, organizing trade shows or conducting market research.

Marketing interns may perform receptionist duties, including answering phone calls.
Marketing interns may perform receptionist duties, including answering phone calls.

Another consideration when trying to choose the best marketing internship is its scheduling and format. Some marketing internship positions are full- or part-time jobs that take place during summer break. Other positions are part-time jobs that are scheduled during the regular school year and are considered actual classes. If you have latitude with the scheduling, you might consider an internship that best fits into your schedule while still providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and gain substantive experience.

A marketing intern may work for a large clothing retailer.
A marketing intern may work for a large clothing retailer.

Finally, whether an internship is paid or unpaid can be a real consideration, especially if you really need the income that a paid internship provides. Generally, larger corporations and organizations more often provide paid internship positions. The downside is that these positions also generally are harder to get because more people are seeking them. Unpaid internships or those paying small stipends might be easier to get and can be just as valuable from an educational and experience perspective. If money is not as much of an issue, you might consider an unpaid internship.

It's best to avoid marketing internships that involve mostly receptionist tasks such as making copies.
It's best to avoid marketing internships that involve mostly receptionist tasks such as making copies.

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